The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £3.2m contract to BAE Systems to supply a mission planning system for the AW159 Wildcat helicopter fleet, which is used by UK Royal Navy and Army Air Corps pilots.
Capable of being deployed on multiple platforms, BAE’s combined arms gateway environment (CAGE) will allow pilots to plan, brief, rehearse, execute and debrief a mission via advanced situational awareness and planning support data, enabling the crew to be more spontaneous and make informed decisions.
The system has already completed a series of assessments with the MoD and manufacturer AgustaWestland, and is now scheduled for integration later this month.
BAE Systems Military Air and Information’s Dave Rawlinson said: "CAGE allows pilots to do [a] lot of detailed planning in advance, which would otherwise have to be done in the air.
"On take-off pilots know that they are flying with a plan, which is not only achievable but tactically astute.
"The plan is loaded to the aircraft’s tactical computer, with navigation systems providing route information and annotating moving map displays with the operational situation."
CAGE has been used by the navy on the Merlin II and is set to be deployed on other aircraft in the UK helicopter fleet.
Alongside BAE, the development project involved pilots from Joint Helicopter Command, Navy Command, the Lynx Project Team, and AgustaWestland.
The programme successfully completed critical design review in October 2014, followed by formal acceptance testing in December.
In addition, the same team has been working on delivering the centralised aviation data service secure de-confliction service, which uses web-based tools and enables aircrew to share information related to hazards and flight paths.
Image: CAGE will allow pilots to plan, brief, rehearse, execute and debrief a mission. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.